25th March 2014

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by: designers-i

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Seven Ways To Improve Minion Engagement

One great thing about having lots of children is the guilt free pleasure of watching all the kids movies – which are usually much better than ‘grown up’ films.

As stated in several previous articles, it’s hard for me to watch a movie without analysing management style – which in the case of the lead character in Despicable Me is just exemplary…….

In case you missed this excellent movie, Gru is an evil super villian with a horde of minions set on committing (and sometimes solving) various criminal acts.

In order to achieve success, he has his hundreds of marginally uncontrollable minions who don’t necessarily do the right things (sound familiar?)

Nonetheless they always work hard, innovate, complete seemingly impossible tasks, and enjoy themselves in the process.

Without them Gru would never succeed in achieving his goals.

I would argue this is due to the high level of employee engagement demonstrated in the organisation, and would offer the following seven examples as proof:

1. Set Clear Direction And Explain Your Goals

There’s never any doubt about the focus of the team. The goals are set clearly, and although the deadlines are tight there is absolute transparency with regards to the end goal – even if that end goal is stealing the moon by first stealing a shrink ray.

2. Celebrate Success Together & Give Credit

The word ‘we’ is used often – never ‘me’. We stole the Times Square Jumbotron. We have had a great year. We will have a party. Great success calls for celebration, goals and rewards are shared at all levels.

3. Never Stop Employees Having Fun

The minions cannot help but enjoy their work – naturally mischievous, they find things to enjoy even during the most mundane of tasks. Simple pleasures cause laughter and everyones day passes faster because of it. The goals are achieved, but their enjoyment of life is not seen as an inhibitor to success – but rather a sign of a highly integrated, functional team.
4. Be Appreciative Of Failed Innovation

It is unlikely that one of your staff is going to present you with a fart gun today, but if they did would you be impressed with their innovation, or furious at them for not focusing on the task at hand?

In the movie, a simple misunderstanding about a dart gun requirement produces an unexpected result  – but lessons are learned, and it eventually becomes useful.

Most importantly, failure is appreciated as a learning experience.

5. Ensure Adequate Staffing

There are no shortage of hands to help complete the work. In fact having a few extra bodies helps a great deal when things start to go wrong – and that excess of resource allows for new creations.

Extra resource ensures a high quality of work and confidence that the job can get done. When too many minions go missing in the second movie, all kinds of disasters occur and everything starts to go wrong.

6. Really Delegate Responsibility

Gru cannot do it all. He is clearly the leader, but together with a  highly skilled middle manager (Dr. Nefario) – he hands out clear tasks and steps back.

Never micro-managing and only coming to help when it becomes apparent that he can provide resource, advice or clarification to ensure success. His door is always open, and if no-one comes to visit, he takes the time to go and see what’s happening.

7. Listen To Concerns And Take Action

When minions notice things going wrong – the departure of a respected manager, a reduction in staff, missing children and so on – Gru takes notice. He doesn’t spend time questioning motive or accusing them of wasting his time.

As a consequence, lines of communication remain open and problems are not hidden from senior management.

If you follow these steps, not only will your own employees become more engaged, they will be more productive, your business will be more profitable, and everyone will be happy….
(now turn up your speakers and play this clip)

Mark Ellis, of CultureTransform is passionate about helping organisations improve their results through cultural change, employee engagement and leadership and has worked with many global companies to implement and measure their culture transformation programmes.

The original blog post can be found here.